Scout Association to increase redundancies and sell two properties

06 Nov 2020 News

The Scout Association will increase the number of redundancies it makes due to the coronavirus pandemic to over 100.

In addition, the charity is to sell two properties, including the London centre named after its founder.

In August, the organisation had said it would need to make 50 roles redundant in order to address a projected £3m deficit. The latest move will take the total to more than 100 job losses, or a third of its workforce.

In a statement, the charity said that it had “prioritised key services for its front-line volunteers and young members, especially safeguarding, activity programming, safety and volunteer recruitment”.

Selling property to replenish cash reserves

Trustees have agreed to sell Baden-Powell House in London and Downe Scout Activity Centre in Kent.

“These sales will take time to complete and when eventually realised will support a sustainable future for our movement over the coming years,” the statement said. “By releasing those funds we can prepare for the future beyond the pandemic, to replenish cash reserves and ensure sustainable long-term support to volunteers and young people.”

When announcing the first round of redundancies, the Scouts had also said it would close its hotel and conference centre at Gilwell Park in Epping Forest, London. However, this property is now not being sold and will be repurposed to support the charity's headquarters and adventure centre.

Matt Hyde, chief executive of the Scouts, said: “These are incredibly challenging decisions for our board to have to make. The prospect of losing valued colleagues and places that matter so much to our movement is incredibly painful. By taking these difficult steps we are driven by our purpose. Our priority is supporting young people at a time when they need us most, both during and after the pandemic.”

The Scouts recently launched a nationwide fundraising campaign called #RaceRoundtheWorld, which will support more than 500 groups that are in danger of closing within the next six months due to financial hardship.

The Scouts added that two-thirds of young people had said the pandemic had had a negative effect on their mental health. It said: “Scouting plays a vital role in helping young people feel better about themselves and the future.”

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